Albany bank fire bombed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany bank fire bombed

August 31, 2005

Albany -- An Albany bank is attacked with a Molotov cocktail early Wednesday morning. Investigators say this is not the first time this branch has been the target of a fire bomb attack. Now federal and local authorities are investigating.

Burn marks can be seen around the back window of the Bank of America branch at Dawson and Westover Roads. Albany Police crime scene unit investigators try to determine the kind of fuel used in the Molotov cocktail. Interim Fire Chief James Carswell said "All we know is it's a flammable liquid. We haven't identified the type of flammable liquid yet."

It happened about 7:15 AM. The branch manager says she saw a man wearing black clothes run up and throw something against the building, that exploded in flames. The attacker then ran away.

 The Molotov cocktail busted a window in the bank building. The window and outside of the building were scorched, but the fire did not spread inside. Chief Carswell said "Fortunately for us and the bank, it actually burst before it entered the building, of course burnt on the outside of the building."

FBI investigators were called in, because this is not the first attack on this branch. Earlier this month another object was thrown against the building,  but the manager thought it was the work of kids, and did not report it.

But now federal authorities are looking at it as a deadly serious crime. Chief Carswell said "Because a Molotov cocktail was involved, they are looking at it from the area of terrorism. At this point, we don't know one way or another."

Investigators continue to review videotapes from the bank and surrounding businesses, aggressively pursuing the fire bomber, before he can attack again.

The Bank of America branch employees remained outside most of the morning during the investigation. They opened to customers before noon.

Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen the fire bombing  to call the Albany Fire Department.

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